Route 66 is our country’s “Mother Road,” complete with so much history from our nation’s past. The route stretches the entire width of New Mexico, passing through the center of the state in a east-west orientation. Along the route in New Mexico, discover ancient dwellings from ancestral Pueblo people, the remains of Spanish Colonial Mission homes, old West mining, homesteading, and ranching sites, early 1900s town and city destinations, and of course, the beautiful national parks, state parks, monuments, and historic sites, as well as spectacular scenery that dots the entire byway.
The Historic Route 66 remains, though segmented, in four U.S. states. The route is broken up, often paralleling other major roads, throughout Illinois, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona. Clear route markers exist along most of the road. Below we have included directions and specifications for New Mexico and Arizona, if you would like the directions for Illinois and Oklahoma, visit this site.
The New Mexico portion of Route 66 is a total of 604 miles / 972 km in length.
- Acoma Sky City, located off I-40 (take exit 96 east, or exit 108 west, and drive 15 miles) – Acoma Pueblo Village, located at the top of a 400 foot mesa, visitors can step back in time and visit the historic site to learn more about the ancient culture and see astounding scenery
- Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NM – two of New Mexico’s largest and most famous towns, blending the old historic West with today’s modern culture – visit Albuquerque’s Biological Park, which includes an aquarium, a botanical garden, and a zoo
- Bandelier National Monument, located off I-25 (take the St. Francis/84/285 exit for Santa Fe, then go straight through the city and follow the signs for Bandelier) – visitors can tour the ruins of ancient cliff dwellings from the 13th century ancestral Pueblo Indians
- Blue Hole natural artesian springs, located off I-40 in Santa Rosa (drive 5 miles south toward the Municipal Airport) – natural springs that stay constantly at 61 degrees – part of the Carlsbad Cavern system
- Bluewater Lake State Park, located 7 miles southwest of Prewitt and I-40 – visitors can enjoy the recreation that the large lake has to offer, particularly in summer months – in winter, ice fishing and skiing
- Casamero Anasazi Ruins, located north of Prewitt, off of I-40 – view the ruins of the ancient, mysterious Anasazi people that lived in the area approximately 1000 to 1125 CE
- Cibola National Forest – numerous recreational opportunities and magnificent wilderness area, visitors can view the majestic and varying landscape from their car or on foot
- Conchas Lake State Park, located 34 miles north of Tacamcari, along Hwy 104 – this lake offers miles of shoreline and beaches, coves, canyons, and ample opportunity to discover something interesting, such as fossils from prehistoric sea creatures and unique rock formations
- Fort Union, located in Watrous, NM – once the largest U.S. military base in the 19th Century southwest frontier, Fort Union offers a grand memorial to the men and women who helped win the West – visitors can tour the historic buildings and memorial
- Pecos National Historic Park, located 25 miles southeast of Santa Fe off I-25 – this park houses over 10,000 years of history for the ancient pueblo of Pecos, two Spanish missions, the Santa Fe Trail destinations and the site of the Civil War Battle of Glorieta Pass
- Isleta and Acoma Pueblo Missions, located in the Laguna Indian Reservation, east of NM-314 and west of the byway along NM-6 – ruins and remains of the oldest remaining mission homes and pueblos
- Petroglyph National Monument, located west of Albuquerque – thousands of petroglyphs spanning 17 miles and over 12,000 years of human life
For New Mexico:
Historic Route 66 in New Mexico begins at the NM/TX border. Get on Historic Route 66 and take it to Tucumcari, where you get back on I-40. In Montoya, get back on Route 66 and follow it past Newkirk, Cuervo, and Blue Hole. Once you reach Santa Rosa, you pick up on I-40 again. At the intersection of I-40 and State Route 84, take 84 (which is actually Route 66) northbound toward Las Vegas. When you come to Romeoville, stay on Route 66 as it curves back to the southwest and passes San Jose, Rowe, Pecos, and Glorieta, and then as it goes up to Santa Fe. Continue through Santa Fe down to Algodones, where Route 66 continues as NM 313 through Santa Ana Pueblo, Bernalillo, and Sandia Pueblo.
When you reach Albuquerque, there are four different ways you can choose:
- You can head east and go past Nob Hill, Tijeras, Edgewood, and Moriarty to Longhorn, where the original Route 66 ends and you turn around and go back the way you came.
- You can go west and meet up again with I-40 near Rio Puerco, where you continue on I-40 to where it meets up again with Route 66 at the Cibola County line.
- You can continue straight ahead and stay on Route 66 as it goes south through Isleta Pueblo and back up to join post-1938* Route 66 near Correo.
- You can continue on Route 66 past Mesita, Laguna Pueblo, Budville, Cubero, San Fidel, McCartys, Grants, Milan, Bluewater, Prewitt, Thoreau, Top O' the World, Iyanbit, Ft. Wingate, and Gallup to the Arizona state line.
*Prior to 1938, Route 66 took the way up to Santa Fe and down to Albuquerque. After 1938, a more direct route was taken, and Route 36 cut directly from Albuquerque to Santa Rosa. Thus parts of Historic Route 66 are pre-1938 and some are post-1938.
The Arizona segment of Historic Route 66 is a disjoint byway comprised of seven pieces. The first section follows I-40 through Holbrook, then a small section in Joseph City. The fourth section goes through Flagstaff. The fifth section goes through Williams. The sixth section is a little place in Ash Fork. Finally, there is a long section heading west on SR 65 from Seligman to Topock.
Specifically, the sections are:
- Holbrook, mile marker 289-285
- Joseph City, mile marker 277-274
- Winslow, mile marker 257-252
- Flagstaff, mile marker 211-191
- Williams, mile marker 167-162
- Ash Fork, mile marker 146-144
- Topock, mile marker 167-0
- Gas, food, lodging, phones, restrooms, and shopping are located all along this byway
- Camping, bike trails, and other recreation are located nearby the byway – biking is not recommended for most of the byway because of its located along the interstate (I-40)